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Character naming Feb. 2nd, 2013 @ 06:13 PM Reply

So I'm getting back into writing some short stories as of late but working towards writing a book. My biggest problem however has always been the naming of characters. Sure, I know what kind of character I want them to be but I can never seem to get rolling with naming characters. Any ways I can overcome this problem so I will not have issues naming characters in the future?

Little-Kinky
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Response to Character naming Feb. 2nd, 2013 @ 08:18 PM Reply

Naming characters can be annoying. In my stories I usually take common names (Katie, Christopher, John) that would usually be too stale to use, then change them a bit (Kat, Kristo, another other than john.)

If I'm looking for a name for a complicated main character, I tend to look to Japan. Translate a few words that describe my character to Japanese, figure out how each word reads phonetically, then mix and match the words until I find something that resembles a name.

Try flipping through a popular name database online. Seeing all the names usually doesn't help me at all, but it does tend to give me ideas for others.

That's all I've got~ Good luck?


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SCTE3
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Response to Character naming Feb. 2nd, 2013 @ 08:25 PM Reply

At 2/2/13 08:18 PM, Little-Kinky wrote: That's all I've got~ Good luck?

I find that to be very helpful. Thank you.

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Response to Character naming Feb. 2nd, 2013 @ 09:00 PM Reply

You could always go with names that fit the personality in some way if desired and play on those, choosing the more uncommon ones that sound interesting. Biblical names can always be interesting. Kain / Cain for example is always a strong name for an important usually questionable character. Failing those you can always jump onto more common names, Michael, Richard etc. if they sound good for the period the story is set in. If a hundred + years ago names like Beatrix and Elizabeth etc. are more common place and such names sound great.

Or you could use names from other langauges and cultures, Vincent for example is a name I love which I believe is more French? It sounds great anyway for a character name in whatever it is used in.

As silly as they are some RPG names work really well for example Squall and Cloud, both names relating to weather somehow work with the characters and doesn't sound out of place as well.

It all really depends on the story and which sort of seem to work together. The only problem when writing the names really is to make sure they work with each other well, and no character sticks out when they shouldn't. For example Kain will always be strong name and will always stand out, so using it for a character you want to stand out would be the best bet, and not give it to just a random minor character in case it drags the readers attention to it by accident when not desired.

Of course I tend to suck at names as well, but I usually choose from the selection of names that 'fit' the character, in terms of something more servant based for a waitress etc. while I give something more dignified for a knight etc. I usually end up using the easy names like Lance for such things as that is another name along with Beatrix, Kain and Vincent which enjoy staying around my mind when thinking of names.


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Response to Character naming Feb. 3rd, 2013 @ 09:57 AM Reply

Or you could use names from other langauges and cultures, Vincent for example is a name I love which I believe is more French? It sounds great anyway for a character name in whatever it is used in.

I use Chinese names all the time! Non-Chinese speakers have no idea what they mean; they're sort-of 'inside jokes' for Chinese speakers.

Little-Kinky
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Response to Character naming Feb. 3rd, 2013 @ 11:01 AM Reply

At 2/2/13 10:23 PM, The777Demon wrote: You could give your characters the dumbest names ever imagined and still find readers.

I can't stand writing a name that feels like it should be a placeholder.

If the name just doesn't fit in my head, I'll just go on writing leaving a blank spot whenever there should be a name there.


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Response to Character naming Feb. 3rd, 2013 @ 11:19 PM Reply

I hear you, man. Naming characters is probably the hardest part about writing in my opinion. I find that when I introduce a new character and can't think of a name it slows down my writing process. I think what I'm going to try is to just keep a list of names next to me, so when I introduce a new character I'll glance over and use the first one I see. It will probably make the character feel more authentic since it'd be instantly chosen. It'd feel almost natural, short of thinking of the name yourself.

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Response to Character naming Feb. 4th, 2013 @ 09:43 PM Reply

There's a wonderful technique I enjoy using which I call the "Phrasemorph Naming Process." It guarantees interesting or unique names that you won't find anywhere else.

Let's say you have a business man with a ruthless attitude and an insatiable desire for success. I'll show you how this works:

Step 1: Take 2-4 random words and put them in into a phrase.

Port Quick Smash

Step 2: Mash it up.

Portquicks mash

Step 3: Edit.

Portuick maush.
Portwick mausch

Step 4: Edit #2.

Portrack Mausch
Portrack Mauschar.

AND YOU'RE DONE. You've got yourself a scheming, dangerous businessman with a name NOBODY ELSE has ever had.
And, might I add, a pretty dynamic and powerful one at that.
Enjoy!

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Response to Character naming Feb. 4th, 2013 @ 10:57 PM Reply

you could invent names for your characters (if they belong to an another universe that is unknown to mankind)

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Response to Character naming Feb. 4th, 2013 @ 11:18 PM Reply

At 2/4/13 09:43 PM, AngelofPeace wrote: There's a wonderful technique I enjoy using which I call the "Phrasemorph Naming Process." It guarantees interesting or unique names that you won't find anywhere else.

Thank you, this is a great way to name characters. You are a gentleman and a scholar!

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Response to Character naming Feb. 5th, 2013 @ 07:15 AM Reply

I thank you all for your advice and help. I find the Phasemorph Naming Process very helpful.

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Response to Character naming Feb. 5th, 2013 @ 12:33 PM Reply

I agree with Ragnarokia in that choosing a name to go with the personality/traits that you want the character to have or embody. You also want to make sure that when choosing a name, its one that the needs to help carry the story. If you need to change a character's name for whatever reason, make sure its justifiable reason (ie, the original name chosen is not living up to the work being composed) for the need to change to a more fitting name.


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Response to Character naming Feb. 5th, 2013 @ 09:25 PM Reply

For the sake of posting again, here's another bit!

I seem to always give a character a name, and then a nickname that is given to them by another character. It tends to make things go a bit easier when I decide I hate the characters name when it's too late. Just have a supporting character rename them.


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Response to Character naming Feb. 6th, 2013 @ 03:13 AM Reply

I tend to figure out my character's ethnicity first and then look up names based on that.

Typically, I google "German names" or whatever country is appropriate and find something interesting.


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Response to Character naming Feb. 8th, 2013 @ 10:24 AM Reply

bob


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Response to Character naming Feb. 8th, 2013 @ 11:44 AM Reply

Here's what I like to do when finding characters' last names

1) Determine either a character's personality/ profession or skillset/ unique physical quality.

2) Find a word that describes any of these.

3a) Google surnames associated with this word.

3b) Work with the word itself to make it sound like a surname.
Someone recently wanted a name for a thief. I looked up synonyms for "thief" and was attracted to "heist". I then turned it into "Vanheist." It was pretty easy, and I'll be damned if the author didn't love it. :)


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Response to Character naming Feb. 19th, 2013 @ 06:53 PM Reply

My husband has EXACTLY the same problem. I think personaly the trick is tonotthink about it too much.

For example, when i say the name Caesar, what comes to mind? Powerful? Brash? Strong?
If you look at it the other way, and ask what comes to mind when you think of say, 'calm'. What letters and sounds relate to the personality you're trying to reflect? It's all in there already in your head.How about, Serenity. Rivers, breeze, soft things and beautiful things? What sounds can your mouth make that reflect these qualities?
Another example is say, if i would call a snake Sasha. The 'S' at the begining and again in the middle reflect the hissing of the snake. Sasha is also very slick on the tongue. It would make sense for a snake to be called that. (Just an obvious example)

All in all, if you havn't already, i suggest reading 'The name of the Wind'. Helped me to understand a little, not to mention it's an amazing book, best i've ever read. Hope the tips help.

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Response to Character naming Feb. 22nd, 2013 @ 10:36 PM Reply

Well, Harry Potter character names were based on their personalities. All I can say is base the characters names on their personalities. Ronald Weasley was based on his tendency to be a "weasel". Also another thing you can try is naming characters after someone in your family who matches the personality of the character. That is all I have to say.


J Martinez

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